Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Saturday that four out of the six new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 “Super Tucano” close-air support aircraft, which are intended to beef up the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s close-air support capabilities, have already landed in Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga.
According to Andolong, the four aircraft have landed in Clark Air Base around 1:06 PM while the other two are still in New Delhi, India, awaiting for clearance and would be flown to the Philippines at a later date.
Andolong added that Embraer pilots — who flew the aircraft from the company airfield in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made several fueling stops in various countries before landing in the Philippines — would train PAF pilots selected to fly the “Super Tucano” for two months as part of the agreement under the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee.
The A-29s, which will be part of the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing that will beef up the remaining North American Rockwell OV-10 “Bronco” attack aircraft used by the Air Force in strike missions, was earlier scheduled to be delivered by the end of July but the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel bans have skewed the delivery timetables.
“They are a welcome and much-needed replacement for the PAF’s aged, close air support aircraft, and their mission versatility and capability to carry a variety of ordnance will be very useful in the field,” Andolong said.
The contract for the six aircraft is worth P4.968 billion and was issued in late 2017.